– Study found that up to 51% of patients given antibiotics for minor illness
– Some surgeries gave the drugs to two thirds of cough and cold sufferers
– Colds are usually viruses, against which antibiotics have no effect
– But over-prescribing could increase resistance and make drugs useless
The proportion of patients given antibiotics by GPs for coughs and colds rose by 40 per cent between 1999 and 2011, a study has found.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, which are often the cause of colds and sore throats.
But researchers from Public Health England and University College London discovered that the proportion of patients prescribed antibiotics by their GP for coughs and colds reached a new high of 51 per cent in 2011 – up from 36 per cent in 1999.
And despite dire warnings about the dangers of antibiotic resistance caused by overuse, they suggested that GPs tend to prescribe them when they are put under pressure by worried patients.
According to the study, which was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, the 10 per cent of GP practices with the highest prescribing rates gave antibiotics to two-thirds of patients with the minor illnesses.
Researchers monitoring prescriptions in 537 GP practices across the UK found some gave antibiotics to four out of five patients with sore throats. One in ten GP practices prescribed antibiotics to at least 97 per cent of patients suffering from ear infections.
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Licensed natural remedies, such as Kaloba®, are specifically licensed for the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections, providing a safe and effective choice for such minor ailments. It contains a unique root extract from Pelargonium sidoides (EPs® 7630), a medicinal plant native to South Africa.
Kaloba® is the most widely researched cough and cold remedy worldwide, and is regulated to the same extent as pharmaceutical medicines, offering families peace of mind when using the product. Unlike some over-the-counter remedies, Kaloba is suitable for children aged six and older and is safe for use by asthma sufferers, as well as other vulnerable groups such as diabetics.
Recent studies , have shown that Kaloba® works in three ways to combat the cold virus:
1) Anti-viral: stimulates killer T-cell production, they attack viruses, unlike antibiotics.
2) Anti-bacterial: prevents cell attachment, multiplication and spread of bacteria and viruses.
3) Removes mucus more effectively from nasal passages by increasing the ciliary beat (movement of nasal hairs).
Whilst GPs may use antibiotics to treat more serious bacterial infections, many common minor infections can be resolved at home without a visit to the GP. Over-the-counter remedies, such as Kaloba®, are widely available from high-street pharmacies such as Boots without the need for a prescription and are available online at http://www.kaloba.co.uk
For families concerned about their use of antibiotics, Dr Michael Dixon, GP and Chairman of the NHS Alliance, offers the following guidance:
How can I help my family and myself?
“People should not expect antibiotics to cure every illness, they are actually ineffective in fighting viral infections. Often, the best thing you can do is let a cold or flu run its course, using an over-the-counter remedy to lessen the symptoms. The recovery process can take up to two weeks and if the illness gets worse during this period, consult your GP. Your GP can also provide advice on how you can ease the symptoms while your body fights off the virus naturally.”
When should I take antibiotics?
“Antibiotics are still a very important method of treatment for certain infections, such as some ear and sinus infections, and your doctor will prescribe antibiotics if they are needed to treat these conditions. They are also essential in treating more serious illnesses such as urinary tract infections, tuberculosis, salmonella, and some forms of meningitis, which are usually caused by bacteria.
“As viruses are almost always the cause of common infections, like colds, flu, coughs, bronchitis and sore throats, antibiotics are often not needed. In most cases it is not necessary to see your doctor for a cough or cold and instead, it would be better to consult your Pharmacist, who can advise you on the best form of treatment.”
The Kaloba® range includes convenient tablets, traditional oral drops and brand NEW sugar-free syrup formula, which is both alcohol and additive free and should be taken at the first sign of a cold. Kaloba® syrup and Kaloba® oral drops are suitable to be taken by children 6 years and over and Kaloba® tablets from 12 years. Kaloba® is available in Boots and other leading pharmacy and health food stores nationwide (RRPs: Liquid 20ml £8.16, Liquid 50ml £15.31, Tablets 21 £9.18, Syrup 100ml £7.99). For more information visit http://www.kaloba.co.uk Always read the label.